September 18, 2021, Golden Age Village, Portland, IN
‘Preserving our past, Improving our present, Protecting our Future.’
This is the motto for the city of Portland, a great motto for a central Indiana town! In so many ways, the community of Golden Age Village is living out that motto on a day to day basis. Many of the residents in this community have lived here for many years – they are preserving the past, the traditions, the memories and the relationships that have been forged over the decades.
Consider one resident who, in the last several years has suffered a stroke. While still going strong, he is day by day working on improving his present situation in order to protect his future. When one comes across these down home heroes you are encouraged to keep on keepin’ on!
Due to a number of factors, Impact Cares was only able to spend one week in this community, but what a week it was. Because of its smaller size, it felt like we were able to get to know and spend time with almost every resident – which is always a treat. When Impact Cares is visiting a community, we usually we have a community dinner during the week leading up to the project day. This week however, we held the community dinner on Saturday night after the project day and it was a huge success! Almost the entire community was able to attend and one of their own provided the entertainment. Imagine having your own built-in DJ who provided everything from country to Barry Manilow to some worship songs. Interestingly, the town’s website noted, first of all, that the greatest asset of Portland is its citizens, ‘who participate in our churches, . .’ For the ‘churches’ to be mentioned first on a town’s website speaks volumes about this town. No doubt this helps explain why it was such a great place, with eager beavers willing to help and great participation in community events.
Another example of this preserving, improving and protecting comes from a former Navy & Coast Guard veteran. He has lived in the community for over 30 years. Many years ago, he took it upon himself to improve a rundown field behind his place and turn it into a beautiful lawn where he and his grandson could play catch. He also has a classic motorcycle which is being ‘preserved’ and ‘protected’ for his grandson in the future. You have to love it when you see one generation preserving the past, improving the present and protecting the future for the next generation.
There are many and varied ways to preserve, improve and protect. A couple of residents loved what Impact Cares was doing and jumped in to help. They helped stain the decks of one of their neighbors who herself is one of the communities ‘tough-lovers!’ She goes around, checking in on many if not all her neighbors making sure they’re OK and not just sitting around, because as she said, “I don’t want them sitting around and dying on me!” You have to love it when there are people around who care enough to tell us things we really may not want to hear at times and yet know we need to hear.
Finally, this was the last project for one of our Impact Cares team members, Dee. Dee is struggling with some health issues and we will miss her. She was one of those people who always took the time and was drawn to the down and out, the discouraged and was able to restore hope and bring a smile back into almost anyone’s life. If you see Dee, give her a ‘Thank you!’ shout!
Russ Ooms on behalf of Impact Cares